The summer holidays are upon us, and there’s nothing like taking the kids to the beach for some fun in the sun, surf, and sand!
But before you head to your local store to pick up some fun & cheerful toys to keep the little ones happy, perhaps pause a minute to think of the environmental impact those cheap toys have – both as they’re being made, and after they’ve broken, been discarded, or grown out of.
That’s where eco-friendly toys come into the picture. Sure, it may take a little more planning ahead to make sure you’ve got your eco beach toys prepared for the summer fun ahead, but these sustainable beach and water toys will last much longer than one summer in the sand! Saving you time and money in the long term.
Not sure what to look out for? Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up the very best eco-friendly and biodegradable beach toys, so you can hit the beach with a clean conscience this year!
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Why Buy Sustainable Beach Toys?
Traditional beach toys are made of cheap plastics that often contain harmful compounds such as BPAs and phthalates. These chemicals have been proven to be harmful to human health.
Traditional beach sand toys typically don’t last long, as they’re not built to last. They crack, chip, and split after being exposed to sun and saltwater, rendering them useless. After which they’re typically thrown in the trash where they can take over 450 years to break down!
And that’s the toys that do make it to the trash. Unfortunately many make their way directly into the sea where they can disrupt ecosystems, leak harmful substances, and break down into microplastics.
Finally, when you add up how much you spend on ‘cheap’ plastic toys every summer, you may be surprised to learn that you could have saved a bundle by buying eco-friendly sand toys to begin with!
10 Best Eco-Friendly Toys for the Beach
From baby toys to big kid toys, we’ve compiled this handy resource of environmentally friendly beach toys so you can spend less time surfing the internet, and more time in the sand this summer!
Made from FSC certified bamboo fiber, this fun and colorful beach toy set from Ekobo will provide hours of beach time fun!
Containing four pieces, each with multiple creative uses, this eco beach toy set is as versatile as it is durable. And look closely – you may even notice that each piece has a unique sea character! Look out for the birdy-shaped bucket, mantra ray shovel, whale scoop, and turtle sieve…
Because this set of eco-friendly sand toys is completely free of BPA and phthalates, you can rest assured knowing your little ones are safe when using it as they please!
Green Toys are a USA-owned and operated company that has been making safe and eco-friendly toys for kids since 2008.
Using 100% recycled materials (primarily post-consumer milk bottles), and packaged in recyclable cardboard, printed with soy-based inks, Green Toys are truly committed to manufacturing eco-friendly and safe products for children.
Speaking of safety, all their toys are free from BPA and phthalates and conform to US and international safety standards.
Their sand playset is ideal for little hands and will keep young ones happy for days – building sandcastles, raking, scooping, and digging. And you can be assured these eco sand toys are built to last!
Bigger kids need bigger beach toys like this heavy-duty beach shovel from German brand Spielstabil. Made from strong non-toxic ABS plastic (the same material LEGO is made from), it has been built to last and will withstand the roughest of play!
Free from BPA, PVC, and Phthalates, Spielstabil beach toys are ergonomically designed to be safe for small hands, lightweight, yet built for heavy use!
Buy this eco beach toy and you’ll also have a handy staple for trips to the sea. Or pair it with the large sand pail for hours of heavy-duty sandcastle building.
It wasn’t until my son’s plastic swim fins broke recently that I’d given much thought to what they were made out of. Unfortunately, like most on the market, they were made out of SEBS – a type of TPE – that can’t be recycled.
I started researching for eco-friendly alternatives that’d be durable & comfortable but wasn’t having much luck. That is until I came across HEVEA natural rubber biodegradable swimming fins.
Not only are these flippers made from upcycled rubber, but the natural rubber foot pocket also makes them super comfortable, and grippy for small feet. They come with a handy organic cotton mesh bag for the beach, and they’re suitable for ocean swimming.
Eco-friendly sand toys don’t get much more fun than this versatile creation from Quut. Made to scoop, shovel, dig and sift – it’ll keep your little ones entertained for hours!
While it is made out of plastic, it’s been made to last a lifetime – so you can donate yours to another family if your kids ever grow out of it. Plus, it’s free of BPA and phthalates, making playtime safe.
This sand shovel for kids has been designed to be used in multiple ways, and comes with a detachable sand sifter for extra fun!
Beach days aren’t the same without a frisbee to throw around. But normally the cheap plastic ones end up cracking, splitting, and ultimately ending up in landfills.
This eco-friendly frisbee from Bureo is different. It’s made from recycled fishing nets – putting good use to these products that all too often get discarded in our oceans.
Not only is it made in the USA, but it’s also packaged in recycled and recyclable packaging. And although hardwearing, if it were to ever break, you can send it back and the team at Bureo will recycle it into something new!
Danish brand Dantoy creates beach-ready toys with environmentally-friendly bioplastics. Using sustainably grown sugarcane, their line of bio toys comes with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. They don’t contain any harmful chemicals and can be recycled at end-of-life.
This baby-sized beach toy set is the ideal size for tiny tots to dig, scoop and make fun shapes in the sand. It’s made to last and comes in recycled cardboard packaging.
For hours of tipping and dumping fun, pair this eco-friendly beach toy with the Green Toys Sand Play Set, or just your hands! Little ones will love the tipping dumper, robust construction, and making tracks in the sand.
Made from recycled plastic (post-consumer milk bottles), the dumper truck doesn’t contain any BPA, PVC, or phthalates – making it safe for children. And there are no metal axles so you don’t have to worry about it getting rusty from the seawater.
While not 100% eco-friendly, if you’re looking for sustainable swimming accessories for your kids this summer, Garbo & Friends have the goods.
Made from .25mm thick durable PVC, these armbands are made to last – so they won’t need replacing every season. They’re beautifully printed with non-toxic colors (in a variety of colors), and they come in a handy 100% organic cotton dust bag. The perfect gift for a water-loving tot!
The floats are tested and approved for use for kids between 2-18kg, so they’ll last for years of seaside fun. And you can be assured you’re buying from a company with a dedication to ethical production.
Give your kids some independence with their very own beach wagon! They can use it to pull all their favorite eco beach toys to the beach, or pile it with sand and water for making epic sandcastle creations!
As with all Green Toys models, this beach wagon is made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic, but contains no harmful materials such as BPA, PVC, or phthalates. There are also no metal axles or external coatings to worry about – so you can use this wagon anywhere!
The pull rope is made from 100% cotton, the handle the perfect size for small hands, and the wheels are large enough to navigate sand, soil, or gravel easily.
Bonus Travel Friendly Option – Dante Beach Set by Liewood
If you normally pack light when heading away on family getaways, you probably don’t have room in your suitcase for a bulky set of beach toys!
Avoid buying a cheap plastic throwaway set at your destination and pack this loveable set from Liewood instead. Made of 100% silicone, you can roll up the bucket and pop it in your luggage with no trouble.
Available in a range of colors and patterns, these durable beach and water toys will last you years of family fun!
Unfortunately, for now, finding eco-friendly beach toys isn’t as simple as heading to your closest corner store. But as you can see from the list above, there are some fantastic options out there that’ll make sand & sea days more sustainable!
Which of these environmentally friendly toys will you be taking to the beach this summer?